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Home workout using household items

Physiotherapist at Bupa UK
19 May 2020

Are you looking for ways to stay active at home? Bodyweight workouts and HIIT sessions are a great way to get moving without any fancy equipment. But there are also lots of things you can find around your house that can be used as a substitute for exercise equipment. You just need to know where to look. Try my home workout below, that uses household items to help you work up a sweat. You’ll never look at a tin of beans the same way again!

How to complete your home workout

Here you’ll find instructions on how to complete this home workout routine. Continue reading below for more information on how to perform each exercise correctly and lots more ideas of household items you can use.

Step 1: Warm up

Start by making sure your body is warmed up and ready for exercise. Try high knee walking, jogging on the spot or doing star jumps for two to three minutes.

Step 2: Work out

Complete each of the eight exercises, allowing for a short rest in between each one.

  • If you’re new to exercise, complete each exercise for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.
  • If you exercise regularly and are at an intermediate level, complete each exercise for 30 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.
  • If you’re a more advanced and experienced exerciser, complete each exercise for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

Step 3: Rest and repeat

Once you’ve completed all eight exercises, take a rest for one minute before starting again.

Repeat the circuit two to three times.

Step 4: Cool down

Remember to spend a few minutes cooling down and stretching after exercise.

How to perform these exercises

Front squat

Fill a rucksack with books and – wrapping your arms tightly around it – hold the rucksack to your chest. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and look straight ahead. Sit back as if there’s a chair behind you and lower your bum down until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Don’t round your back or lean forwards and make sure your knees stay in line with your toes. Return to standing before lowering down again.

Tip: If you don’t have any books, try filling your rucksack with bottles and cans instead. Or you could hold laundry detergent, a large carton of milk, a bag of dog food, bird seed or cat litter, or a full laundry basket instead.

Shoulder press

Start by standing upright and holding two tins at shoulder height. Raise your arms directly above your head as far as feels comfortable. Then lower your arms back down to shoulder height and repeat. Keep your tummy muscles engaged and your shoulders down away from your ears.

You can also try: Attaching two tins together to make them heavier if you need, using large water bottles or packets of flour or sugar instead.

Walking lunges

Holding two large water bottles down by your sides, take a long step forwards with one leg and lower your back knee until it hovers just above the ground. Raise back up and repeat by taking a long step forwards with your opposite leg. Remember to engage your tummy muscles to help you balance, keep your head and shoulders up and your front knee in line with your toes.

You could also hold: Heavy shopping bags, tins, laundry detergent or milk cartons by your sides.

Tricep dips

Place both hands on a chair behind you with your fingers pointing away from your body and your legs stretched out in front of you. Keeping your elbows tucked in tightly, lower your body down and back up. If this is too difficult, bend your knees slightly and bring your feet in closer towards your body.

You could also use: A bench, low wall, sofa, step, box or children’s slide.

Wall sit

Stand with your back against a wall and your feet hip-width apart. Gently slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel with the ground and your knees are in line with your ankles. Your knees should make a right angle (90 degrees). Place the rucksack on your lap and hold the position. If this is too difficult to begin with, remove the rucksack and cross your arms over your chest.

Tip: As with the front squats, if you don’t have a rucksack or books, you could try placing a laundry basket, bag of animal food or laundry detergent on your lap instead.

Incline press-up

Start by placing your hands at shoulder height on a raised surface and stretching your legs out behind you. Keeping your back straight and your elbows tucked in as best you can, bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the surface. Then push back up and repeat.

You could try using: A chair, bench, low wall, sofa, step or box.

Bulgarian split squat

Start by standing with a raised surface behind you and your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your front foot firmly on the ground, gently place the toes of your other foot onto the surface behind you. Engage your tummy muscles to help you balance and keep your upper body upright. Slowly bend your front knee and lower down. Raise back up and repeat. Switch legs each round.

You could try using: A chair, bench, low wall, sofa, step, box or children’s slide.

Decline press-up

Place your hands flat on the floor at shoulder height and your toes outstretched onto a raised surface behind you. Keeping your back in a straight line, bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the ground, then push back up and repeat.

You could use: A chair, bench, low wall, sofa, step, box or children’s slide.

Get creative and see what you can find around your house that will challenge you. But remember to be careful, exercise safely, and stop if you’re losing control or feel any pain.

Lucie O’Shaughnessy
Physiotherapist at Bupa UK

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